THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

What’s the best rack for a CHANGE 702?

In this article, we discover the perfect bike rack to fit on a CHANGE 702 road-style bike. Not the type of bike rack that goes on a car, because…well…if you have a CHANGE bike, that whole idea of glomming it onto the outside of your car goes away. No car bike racks are needed.

We’re also answering a specific question. Since the CHANGE 702 is often used as the ultimate commuter bike or campus bike, what is the best rear bike rack for attaching panniers or a backpack full of books? The only rear rack listed on the Flatbike website is for mountain bikes…

The grand experiment begins.

 

Honestly, nearly any off-the-shelf rack will fit on this bike. But there are trade-offs, and at Flatbike, we don’t make formal recommendations until we see how things work. So we’re starting with an assortment of seven rear racks, some of which we’ll use for this test and some for the MTB rack test.

Axiom racks More racks

The possible choices are:

  • One of three racks from Axiom: Streamliner Road DLX, Journey Uni-Fit MK3-ALU, Streamliner Disc DLX. (Anyone know what all these random acronyms stand for?)
  • M-WAVE Universal – Rear Carrier ALU (OK…magnets aren’t sticking, so I’m guessing ALU is for Aluminum). Much assembly required.
  • Unbranded Changebike MTB rack, as sold on the Flatbike website. Much assembly required.
  • Unbranded, unknown rack from Amazon–like the others, but more mysterious.
  • An old Vetta rack from a 1990’s road bike. Current availability unknown.

The Axiom Streamliner Disc DLX and Changebike MTB rack are probably outliers, since a disc brake rear axle is longer than a rim brake rear axle–140 mm wheel space vs. 130 mm–but we’ll try them anyway.

But before we start, it’s important to know what we’re testing for. We already know that a super-wide rack will fit, fold, and latch if we change the stem to a shorter, 60mm stem…

Topeak rack
A wide Topeak rack with splash strip and spring clamp fits…as long as you’re willing to accept a swap-out to a shorter stem.
A 60mm angled Dimension stem makes any road rack fit, with latching kickstand.

This time, we’re looking for racks that latch without requiring a shorter stem. This means that we can still swap out the 100mm standard stem for a 100mm Revelo folding THINstem if we want.

Also…we need to share some useful general information about mounting any rack on a CHANGE 702 folding full-size bike. The CHANGE 702 frame is standard near the wheel, but at the top near the seat, it has a special way of attaching a rack. You’ll need a rack adapter that we’ve started shipping for free (and attaching) for all CHANGE 702 bike purchasers.

Rack adapter
This is included for free on all CHANGE 702 orders (and is included with MTB racks ordered from Flatbike).
Before adapter
Without adapter.
With adapter installed
With adapter.

So let’s get started!

Testing the three Axiom bike racks

 

The super-narrow, no-frills Streamliner Road DLX looked like a prime candidate, but there’s a catch. The front attachment is designed to connect at the caliper brakes near the top of the seat stays…which are lower on a CHANGE bike. So unless we’re willing the modify the connecting band, this bike rack is out.

Bar goes the wrong way
That’s a problem. The rack connector hole must be able to fit through a sideways, horizontal bolt–either on the sides or in the middle.

But to check the value of this rack if adapted, we ran the test anyway. We attached it to the bolt with a zip tie (not recommended) and checked fit when folded. The kickstand latched.

Why might changing the connecting band be worth the effort? Axiom racks are set way back, providing excellent room for large panniers that don’t get kicked. And this rack folds and latches with a 100 mm stem (standard or folding).

Streamliner DLX It folds well

Next up, the Axiom Journey Uni-Fit MK3 ALU. Nothing special–it fit well, but didn’t latch when folded, missing by about an inch. If this rack appeals to you, you may need to create your own hook–and one customer is planning to do exactly that!

Not close enough to latch.
Fits but doesn’t latch.

The last Axiom rack is for disc brakes, but surprisingly fits on this rim brake frame anyway, like the previous rack. Just like it–nice fit, nice look, but doesn’t latch when folded.

We finally have a winner!

 

The rack that ended up fitting, latching, and needing the minimum assembly was naturally the non-branded anonymous rack. Here it is attached and then folded.

 

The M-WAVE arrow bike rack even has a spring-loaded clamp, so you don’t always need a bungee cord.

After some record-sleuthing, we uncovered this anonymous-branded rack as the M-Wave Arrow. It weighs 23 ounces and is available from Amazon.com for under $30.

It’s still possible that the MTB rack we carry also works on the CHANGE 702, but this is such a well-made and useful rack that we really have to recommend it.

Next up, experimenting with racks for the mountain bike frames–CHANGE 609 street MTB, CHANGE 611 rugged hybrid, and CHANGE 612 ultimate MTB.

Happy riding!

Bob

Bob Forgrave,
President, Flatbike

Biking made easier.

425-985-6219

 

 

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